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South Park
All you'll ever need to know!
The Premise: Constable Benton Fraser, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Paul Gross), arrives in Chicago searching for the murderer of his father, and remains there working with the local police. With his American partner – in the first two seasons, Detective Ray Vecchio (David Marciano); in the third season, Stanley ‘Ray’ Kowalski (Callum Keith Rennie) – he strives to maintain the law, while keeping violence, unpleasantness and littering to an absolute minimum.

Background: Due South is produced in Canada by Alliance Communications, for CBS in America. After two seasons, flagging ratings prompted CBS to cancel the series, but Season Three was made possible by a complex funding deal involving several broadcasters, including the BBC.

First Run: 1994 to 1998, comprising three seasons – although some countries are broadcasting the third season in two parts of 13 episodes each.

Number of Episodes: 67 in total, including a double-length pilot episode.

The Good Guys: Apart from Fraser, Vecchio and Kowalski, the most important star is Diefenbaker, Fraser’s wolf-dog who, though hard of hearing, can lip-read in two languages. Among the semi-regular human characters, the most notable are: Inspector Meg Thatcher (Camilla Scott), liaison officer at the Canadian Consulate; Lieutenant Harding Welsh (Beau Starr), both Rays’ boss at the Chicago PD; and, most unusually, the ghost of Robert Fraser (Gordon Pinsent), Benton’s father.

The Bad Guys: Gerard, an ex-Mountie and childhood hero of Fraser’s, is the man who killed Fraser Senior – which makes life difficult for Fraser when he is assigned to protect him in the episode Bird in the Hand. Terrorist Randal Bolt holds Ray and Fraser hostage with a time bomb at his trial in Red, White or Blue.
.South Park Boys
And Isn’t That... Naked Gun/Police Squad actor Leslie Nielsen plays Sergeant ‘Buck’ Frobisher, a Mountie friend of Fraser’s father, in several episodes.

Overdone Clichés: Fraser uses his tracking skills to find a suspect on many occasions, and says “Thank you kindly” and “Not that I’m aware of” rather more often than is really necessary.

Fashion Statements: Famously, to the delight of his many fans, Fraser continues to wear his Mountie uniform despite being stationed in Chicago. To even the balance slightly, Meg Thatcher has also worn a similar outfit (in All the Queen’s Horses).

Photo © Alliance
Thank You Kindly
Victoria’s Secret
A two-parter in which the only woman Fraser ever loved, Victoria Metcalfe, turns out to be a bank robber.

En route to a vacation, Fraser and Ray’s plane is hijacked by an escaped murderer, and it crashes. Paralysed and blinded, Fraser is reliant on Ray to get him back to civilization, while also avoiding the killer.

All the Queen’s Horses
Randal Bolt takes over a train carrying the RCMP musical equestrian team, along with Fraser, Thatcher and Frobisher.

Mountie on the Bounty
A bizarre two-parter from the third season involving stolen gold, pirates, and a crack team of Naval Mounties.

Thanks for Nothing
An Eye for an Eye (about a geriatric neighbourhood watch scheme); Starman (in which Fraser and Ray investigate Hangar 57 at Roswell); and Flashback (a clips episode, ending Season Two on a disappointing note).
John Binns

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